Should You Set a Specific Goal Weight?

Do you set a goal weight when you set off on a weight loss journey?

I’ll share with you how I decided what weight I’d like to be, and I’d be really interested in hearing what your thoughts or ideas are on the subject. When I started on my 512th attempt to lose weight I didn’t really know where I would end up. Frankly, I wasn’t even sure I’d stick with my plan.

So in the beginning, my initial goal was to: LOSE WEIGHT.

That’s right, I had no real end point because I couldn’t let myself believe that I might actually have some success. So after several weeks of steady weight loss, I began setting some small weight goals. “I’ll be so happy when I’m under 270.” Then, “What will it feel like to be 249?” And so on.

Little by little the weight came off, and even after I had lost the first 100 pounds, I still didn’t have a firm goal weight in mind. The more I lost, the more people asked me. “When are you going to stop losing weight?” Or, “Are you done yet?” I always answered them in the same way, “When I get there, I’ll know.”

Once I got under 200 pounds, there was no stopping me. I knew I was doing it, and everyone could finally tell. But when should I stop? Quite frankly, I could have stopped there. At that point I was wearing a size 16 (I’m tall) and looked about 1000% better than I had before. I think that’s why so many people kept asking me if I was done.

I began really thinking about what I wanted to accomplish with my weight loss. Should I just be satisfied with looking so much better, or should I keep going until I felt much better. I was feeling better at 199 than I had at 270, but did I feel good enough? I decided I didn’t, and still didn’t set a number goal. Over the next several months, as the weight continued to come off, I constantly reassessed how I was feeling about myself, how I felt about my appearance, and rather or not I felt done.

One day, it came. It wasn’t a certain weight on the scale, but rather a satisfaction within myself that I was happy with where I was. I was satisfied. I was done. And I stopped trying to lose more weight, and instead started learning how to maintain the loss.

If you set a goal weight, how did you decide what it should be? Or if you have chosen not to set a goal weight, why not? As always, I love to hear your thoughts and comments. Diane

10 thoughts on “Should You Set a Specific Goal Weight?

  1. Karen P says:

    I picked a goal weight where I would pass my company’s wellness program, insurance discount, and a weight where I knew I would have the lowest disease risk.

    I’m glad I did. Otherwise, my slippery slope binge eating voice would have taken over (again). Choosing a goal and working to maintain it has been critical in weight maintenance, too!

    Karen P

  2. Sarah L says:

    I’m heading for a healthy BMI for my height (approved by my doc)–so at least 30 more pounds. I’ve lost 65 so far. It sounds like your weight loss was a straight descent–I’ve been plateaued for several months now (but not gaining!!), which makes me feel like my changes have really stuck and I know well what I’m not doing to get it going again. I’m really happy to be under 200 and into the ‘overweight’ BMI range rather than the ‘obese’ range. But I don’t feel done yet. I feel like right now I’m trying to adjust to the emotional aspects and perhaps even a little afraid of life at a lower weight–I haven’t been those weights since middle/high school and I can’t really wrap my brain around looking and acting different than I have my whole life. Thanks so much for your post!

  3. Linda says:

    I have over 200 lbs to lose and feel like I don’t know where to start. I have tried every diet known to man . I did lose 147 pounds years ago and got my lifetime membership to Weight watchers. But now I am not comfortable go I g to the meetings I am disabled and very hard of hearing so I miss a lot that is being said . I have read your book and it makes me have some hope. What advice would you give someone like me ? Even the chairs at WW are to small for me . And I stopped going to church. Hated being the biggest women there. I go out only when I have to and that’s not far. Thanks for listening. God Bless. Linda

    • Nicki Kelly says:

      Dear Linda,
      Yes, Diane’s book is so motivating and she has a lot of knowledge and experience to share. I just wanted to suggest something to you regarding your decision not to attend church due to your weight. If in the past you gained some emotional and spiritual benefit from going to the service, perhaps it might be a good idea to keep up with that. After attending service you may find yourself happier and therefore ready to tackle your weight goals again. We’re all different and gain motivation from different sources. By staying away from both WW and church you could find yourself too isolated.

  4. Nicki Kelly says:

    Yes, we are all so different, and that is a very good thing!!!!! As a young woman my goal weight number always seemed like the top of Mount Everest: unattainable. That freaky number of 8 stone was pinned on my bathroom mirror and fridge and it was torturing and teasing me each day. Several times, as I was just about there..something awful happened in my life and BAM I put the weight back on.

    So in the end I decided that I was NOT going to set a goal weight anymore. No sir! I was just going set a ‘goal way of eating’. Clean, unprocessed food plus regular exercise and see what my body would do with that. I watched my portion sizes and after so many years of losing weight, I knew where I needed to be with the amounts. And by removing that focus of the 8 stone goal, I sort of eased into the process of losing weight. No more obsessing about the actual number on the scales. Happy to report that 35 years ago I reached the right weight for my height and I’ve stayed there easily by eating real foods. And funny, the right weight for my height is 8 stone… 🙂

  5. Susan says:

    I initially looked at the end weight I wanted to reach but it was so overwhelming that I was discouraged so now, my first goal is to reach a weight with a “2” in front. Once there, I’m not sure but I like the weight watchers idea of setting a goal of losing 10% of my current weight. Once that’s achieved, it would be 10% of that weight, etc., until I reach a “1” in front. Then I will have to see how I feel and how much I want to lose.

  6. Kitty says:

    I set an official goal weight at Weight Watchers at the top of my goal range – 146 which is the top of normal BMI. However, on my Fitbit I set incremental goals as I went down. Get below 200. Then it was get to 10% lost. Then it was to get to overweight BMI, not obese, and so on.

    I’m now at 148, just 2 pounds over my official goal weight. I know that 146 is not the end, but I don’t think setting a specific weight below that is helpful at this point. At 146, or below I’ll be in a normal weight range. My goals beyond that have more to do with body composition than overall weight. I’m still at too high a body fat percentage and I want to get that down. When I have a body composition that is better, then I’ll be done and whether I weigh 145 or 135 or 125 when I get there will be fine (I’m guessing I’ll end up at something in the 130s, but I don’t know).

  7. Alex Ginda says:

    When I went for my annual check up last December the doctor advised me to lose 10 per cent of my current weight which was 139 lb, so when I was finally motivated in April to start losing weight (corresponded with warmer weather) I made my initial goal weight 125 lbs as psychologically it was better to aim for just under 9 stone than 9st 3lbs.

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